The never-ceases-to-amaze Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom packed in the crowd last night for a special collaborative show with Bluetech and KiloWatts coming together as Invisible Allies. The Malah, a South Carolina based electro-jam band, played the Otherside before ArchNemesis brought the hype of hip-hop highs and dubbed-down lows. Both sides complemented each other, and based on the expressions of fans, all artists can claim the night a success.
With the line for the box office still reaching out to the cold at 10:30 p.m., it was a good bet that both sides of the split venue would be cramped. And, with one ticket allowing access to both sides, it was pretty easy to get your fix of electronica from the Ballroom or, get it on with The Malah, whose energy didn't get put on hold until the last track.
Blake Mobley, whose name you may recognize from the Boulder-based Eminence Ensemble was afforded the opportunity to sit-in on the Malah's set and play along on the keys. Word has it, there was little rehearsal time, but by the time his fingers started dancing, you would've thought he'd been touring with them. Perfect timing on the drops and runs had Mobley grooving through with ease and precision. It was hard, and a few people commented, to hear the drums over everything. You could plainly see him wailing away, but the crashes didn't crash and the beat-keeper, in my opinion, was not getting the sound recognition his energy was outputting.
Just as the Malah was unearthing their third song, Bluetech was opening his set in the Ballroom. KiloWatts ended his solo set, and with a very brief intermission, not even smoke-worthy, Bluetech came out. Soaring through tracks, dropping soft bass thumps and filling in the blanks with atmospheric blips, Bluetech was simply setting everyone up for Invisible Allies.
Archnemesis, who are set to tour with Kraddy on eight of its next twelve stops, was on deck to close down the Otherside following the Malah.
Archnemesis at the Otherside. Invisible Allies in the Ballroom. How perfect is that?
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The beats coming from the Otherside, coupled with the ambience of Invisible Allies, made it quite difficult to choose sides. Similar, say, to choosing to kick it with Obi-Wan, or, party with Darth Vader. You didn't want to miss the two openers in the Ballroom playing together, but you didn't want miss the fun drops at the Otherside. What do you do! I'll tell you.
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You post up on the corner nearest the door and divide your time.But, with two shows right next to each other it's difficult. Luckily, Cervantes has the side-hatch to pass between venues, making this quite simple.
So began the battle. ArchNemesis came out strong with some tweaked and jazzy samples. Allies countered with a slow build-up, creating a weightless feeling, while at the same time inserting eerie, creaking sounds (think Thriller background noise, but underwater) that keep your anticipation barely unfulfilled. The release, however, makes it all worth it. ArchNemesis would then make the drop, a buildup equated to Pretty Lights style that would end in that anthemic feeling of victory. Allies stayed true to their sound, building upon each sound and tweak until ultimately, you would get sent down the rabbit hole of melodic noise.
Both closers played until the 2 a.m. cut-off. One fire-dancer at the Otherside had just lit her "fire fingers" when ArchNemesis ended, only to perform a solo fire dance in between the set and the encore. That's determination.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: Cervantes' doesn't ever let me down, no matter what is going on. The forum of artists presented at any given show makes me giddy about the whole night. This night was no different, and Bluetech once again reminded me why I can always get down to his sound. By The Way: Bil Bless was playing an after party in Denver. Random Detail: The hexagonal light boards in the Ballroom were strategically placed in symmetry on the floor. Totally worked. Overheard at the show: "I don't even need to get fucked up to enjoy this."